I love spending money on the niceties of life – for example, a decent bottle of wine, turquoise ink for my old fountain pen, a pretty pair of earrings. A teenage son eats into the family budget. Electricity bills, mortgage payments and running a car are unavoidable expenses. Sadly, I’m no good at saving money. So why on earth am I writing an article on money-saving tips? It’s because I can’t save BEFORE a holiday that I have become quite good at saving money ON holiday. So here are some of my favourite money-saving tips that might help you too.
1. Before you leave home, find out if there are any special deals on ticket prices for the kinds of places/attractions you want to visit. It may be a Water Park for the kids, a museum or theatre, but very often there are online deals that you can buy in advance with considerable savings on the ‘door rate’.
2. Check out what local transport tickets are available. Again they may be cheaper to get in advance but most cities and many regions have great offers on rail/bus/tram travel which you can usually buy from stations etc.
3. As soon as you arrive at your holiday destination, check with your travel rep/hotel concierge/B&B owner where the locals go for good value food and drink. You will not only be able to eat cheaper but often get much more delicious meals than going to more obvious tourist restaurants and bars.
4. Watch out for lunch-time menus, especially if you are staying in a Mediterranean country. Many eateries have really good midday ‘specials’ that often include 2-3 courses and a glass of wine or soft drink for under £10 or thereabouts.
5. Don’t be afraid to haggle or ask for a discount when you are shopping. Many countries in the world are quite used to this, and even if they are not (ie the UK), in the current tough economic climate, many shops are now prepared to offer a discount, especially if you are buying more than one item.
6. Get your souvenirs at local markets and smaller shops. Invariably you will get a better deal on just about everything (see above) but you will often find excellent quality hand-crafted gifts at prices well below what you’d pay in the big tourist stores.
7. Tours can add a lot to your holiday expenses yet can be a great way to get to see local sights. Hotels often add a hefty % to their trips, which can usually be found for a fraction of the price in the nearest town travel agents. You can find a wide variety including river cruises, city walks, bus, cycle and food tours etc. Sometimes they may also include pick-ups at popular hotels so ask around and find a bargain.
Hopefully, if you can save £££s on these few money-saving tips you’ll have plenty more to spend on enjoying yourself even more on holiday.